Belfast Years 1992 - 2002
The Irish Harp Orchestra - 'The Belfast Years 1992-2002' – a new compilation from Carillon (1994), Feasting with Carolan (1995), Bright New Morning (1996), Colmcille (1997), & Walk in Belfast (1999) - taking 16 of the favourites from these recordings - An Ideal introduction to Janet Harbison & The Irish Harp Orchestra.
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|01||Brian Borou's Set||(Trad.)||4.31|
|02||Flower of Sweet Strabane||(Trad.)||
|03||Walk in Belfast||(Harbison)||
|04||Bright New Morning||(Harbison)||
|05||Earth Water Wind Fire||(Harbison)||
|06||Raggle Taggle Gypsy||(Trad.)||
|07||The Londonderry Air / Danny Boy||(Trad.)||
|14||Journey into Exile||(Harbison)||2.14|
|15||The Derry Lament||(Harbison)||5.16|
|Instruments:||Irish Harp Orchestra|
|Genre:||Traditional / Contemporary|
|Label:||Irish Harp Centre|
THE BELFAST HARP ORCHESTRA
In 1986, Janet Harbison was issued the challenge to ‘teach the children of Northern Ireland to play the harp’ and reclaim their heritage! In May 1988, the results of her work were presented in a concert in the Ulster Hall which was both opening the Belfast Lord Mayor’s Festival of that year, and the closing event in the Linen Hall Library’s Bicentennial Festival program. The concert featured 22 of her students; ten of which impersonated the ten harpers at the 1792 Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in a ‘recreation of the Assembly’ in the first half of the programme. The second half was a full orchestra presentation of a specially arranged programme of music from the Assembly which was notated and published by Edward Bunting in 1796. The concert was presented by renowned BBC presenter Sean Rafferty; conducted by symphony orchestra conductor Dr Havelock Nelson; and designed, scripted, arranged, trained and rehearsed by Janet Harbison! The concert was a resounding success and its recording by BBC, which was made into two radio programmes produced by Jim Sheridan, brought further acclaim. The orchestra was born! The formal launch took place 4 years later at the 1992 Belfast World Harp Festival celebrating the bicentenary of the Harpers’ Assembly itself which involved over 40 of the world’s top artistes from all 5 continents. The opening concert of the Belfast World Harp Festival 1992 featured the Belfast Harp Orchestra with The Chieftains and the closing concert with the Orchestra again and Alain Stivel. Almost immediately, the orchestra went on tour with the Chieftains featuring at the National Concert Hall, Dublin and the Royal Festival Hall in London where The Celtic Harp album was recorded. This won the top Grammy Award for folk music the following year. 2 tours later and concerts performed included New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and at Washington’s Kennedy Centre, the future of the orchestra (which was originally intended only to last the bicentennial year) was established.
For 10 years, they performed at the cutting edge of the arts world in Northern Ireland, featuring at all the important international events (including the opening of Belfast’s new concert and conference centre, the Waterfront Hall) royal and presidential visits. They also toured extensively in the UK performing in top venues including the Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Barbican Centre; in Europe performing in the Munich and Kolo Philharmonic Halls, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and at international multi-cultural and harp festivals as guests of the EU and different European governments; and in the USA at the most significant Irish festivals including the Milwaukee Irish Fest. Janet Harbison and her Orchestra also received a number of prestigious awards in recognition for their work toward peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The harp presented a very special opportunity since it belonged equally to the cultural traditions of both communities in the North (it was established as the emblem of Ireland by the English King Henry VIII, and was the emblem of the state’s (British) police force in the province, as well as being the emblem of northern Nationalism and the Republic of Ireland). The orchestra’s membership embraced young people from both political traditions and served to teach them more about their own heritage and accommodation of the other. Much of the music performed was politically sensitive to one or other community but Harbison’s very consciously balanced arrangements and sensitive presentation enabled it to be accessible to everybody who celebrated their own music and learned about the other. Many of the orchestra’s members are now celebrated soloists (including Michael Rooney and Grainne Hambly) who tour extensively throughout the world representing the best of Irish musicianship and carrying the heritage of Ireland’s ancient harpers to the world at large and Ireland’s future generations of players.
To Patrick Dalgety and Debra Salem for sound engineering and recording the Carillon, Feasting with Carolan, Colmcille and some of the Christmas Collection albums, to Paul Mulligan for the Christmas Collection album and the mastering of This ‘The Belfast Years’, to Paul Hyde of Davis Printers for the artwork and Bruno of Open Ear Productions for completing the production process - a girl’s eternal thanks for all your expertise.
All music composed/arranged by Janet Harbison
Compilation from the albums: